May 13, 2015

The #TPP arrogance, and lies of Obama

The man who has redefined and taken to new heights the phrase Just.Another.Politician.™, President Barack Obama, recently called Sen. Elizabeth Warren, an ardent foe of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, "another politician" for her criticisms of his bromance with TPP.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown then called Obama to task for this.

And now?

He expects Sherrod Brown to apologize for calling him out.

Yes, read that again.
White House press secretary Joshua Earnest said Wednesday he’s confident Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, will “find a way to apologize” once he takes another look at Tuesday remarks he made about President Obama’s criticism of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.

Brown has nothing for which to apologize.

In fact, he's right about one thing. Calling Warren just by first name might not be something Obama does regularly to male senators; if nothing else, HE needs to apologize. 

But he won't.

Here's what he said, in an interview with the man apparently trying to appoint himself the media high priest of neoliberalism, Matt Bai:
“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Mr. Obama had said in a weekend interview with Yahoo News.
Yep, that's at least at the edge of sounding sexist. 

As for Earnest's claim that he does that with male senators, I doubt so, not in a first reference as a third party.

Meanwhile, Bai, doubling down on his apparent self-defined role as neoliberal court jester (I've had a Twitter exchange with him over his new Gary Hart book and related matters, and I stand by this take) talks about Obama and the "professional left."

Remember how, about a year into office, Obama asked progressives to challenge him from the left, then, only weeks later, then-press secretary Robert Gibbs showed this was all a crock?

Of course, Obama flat-out lies elsewhere in that interview, like about "standing up to Wall Street." If  he had, "Elizabeth" would be running the Consumer Finance Protection Agency. Dick Cordray's not bad, but Dear Leader refused to push Warren into the position.

Beyond that, the reality is that a lot more people than Elizabeth Warren — including unions and environmentalists — oppose Dear Leader on this one and rightly so.

And, we need to keep more Dems besides Obama feeling the heat. Even free-trading sellout Ron Wyden voted against Senate cloture on fast track. He knew that the currency-manipulation issue was a no-go, and besides, Congress has had years to address that elsewhere and hasn't. But, he knows he needs fig leaves, and he'll back three to negotiate away one or two. Obama is either clueless or unaccepting of such ideas. See friend Perry for more.

Even Crooked Timber, which should know better, can get Obama wrong:
The result has been a significant shift to the left in the second Obama Administration, reflected in more populist rhetoric, the abandonment of the search for bipartisanship and in some substantive policy shifts, for example on minimum wages. The big exceptions are issues like the TPP and the security state, where Obama was captured by the permanent government almost from day 1, and has never shifted.
Erm, no.

His summer 2008 flip-flop on the telecoms showed that Dear Leader had voluntarily surrendered to the "permanent government" long before his official day 1. 

The arrogance is nothing new, either, certainly not on this issue. Note his appearance in front of an American flag at Nike HQ last week. The company basically makes nothing in the US; what it does make is made largely by international sweatshop labor in physically and environmentally unsafe conditions. And, more of that is supposed to help Americans how?

And, for all he irritates some Republicans, Harry Reid is showing why Dems will miss him as Senate Majority/Minority Leader. In part, for all he irritates some Republicans. Obama should have been taking notes years ago. Dana Milbank notes that a mix of contempt for, and past failure to lobby, Congress, is coming home to roost. Calling yourself, indirectly, "the smartest guy in the room" will piss off other politicians. (The piece is actually good for him; I guess he's done writing stupidity about DC craft brews or whatever.)

The fact that Obama expects Sherrod Brown to apologize is another example of his arrogance. Far beyond this issue, so is the "smartest guy in the room's" use of "folks" so often, so jarringly.

The fact that he doesn't care that he might be perceived as arrogant is itself part of the arrogance too. Let's go meta!

Update: With Sherrod Brown doing a semi-cave just a day after the Senate's initial vote, maybe he DOES owe an apology — to the American public. Having side issues delinked from fast track itself is toothless. And, if those side issues fail to pass the Senate, or even pass cloture, themselves, what are you going to do, Sen. Brown?

I mean, weren't those side agreements on NAFTA unbundled from the main body, so that even though they were passed, that made them easier to not enforce? It's not buying a pig in a poke, if you've looked in a similar poke before and know you were actually buying a skunk, and still bought it.

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